GM, Ford sales seen down in March as trucks falter

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GM, Ford sales seen down in March as trucks falter
Automotive News / March 30, 2007 - 9:52 am / UPDATED: 3/30/2007 4:17 P.M.
DETROIT (Reuters) -- U.S. sales for General Motors and Ford Motor Co.
were stuck in the slow lane in March as a weakening housing market dampened pickup sales, even as Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp. raced ahead, analysts said.
Toyota and other Asian automakers have been relentlessly stealing U.S. market share from Ford and GM on the strength of their sedans and crossovers.
The slowdown in the U.S. housing market prompted many contractors, who typically buy pickups, to delay purchases, hurting U.S. automakers, analysts.
"Modest headwinds for the month could be a deterioration of consumer confidence and continued housing weakness," Bear Stearns analyst Peter Nesvold said in a research note.
Another area of concern for automakers is the implosion in the subprime lending market, which analysts say has caused banks to rethink their lending practices, not just for mortgages but autos as well.
"Interest rates on new car loans in January rose to 6.45 percent, a rate not seen in seven years," according to IRN Inc., which tracks the market.
But Nesvold said despite the housing weakness and subprime mortgage fears, the economy remains strong enough to support sales in the low- to mid-16 million-unit range this year.
New U.S. vehicle sales are expected to come in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of between 16.2 million and 16.6 million vehicles for March, according to analysts.
That would be slightly down to flat compared with last March's 16.6 million-unit rate.
Automakers will release March sales results on Tuesday, April 3.
Most analysts expected GM's sales to be down between 3 percent and 5 percent in March, while Ford sales were forecast to fall by as much as 17 percent.
Ford's chief sales analyst George Pipas told Reuters that sales likely fell by a double-digit-percentage range, hurt by lower sales of its best-selling F-series pickup.
"I can say with some confidence that we'll be down in the double digits," Pipas said. "It's about comparison. The F series did much better last year."
Sales for the Chrysler group are expected to be down between 5 percent and 7 percent.
Toyota, on the other hand, is expected to post a sales increase of up to 9 percent.
"Sales of passenger cars seem to continue to be very strong, particularly the new Toyota Camry, the Yaris, as well as the Lexus LS and ES," Lehman Brothers analyst Brian Johnson said in a note to clients.
Toyota just added a $1,000 trade-in incentive nationwide on its new Tundra pickup truck, which is competing against GM's new Chevrolet Silverado and Ford's popular F series.
"We view this move as a negative development for the category," Johnson said, adding that Toyota's move could lead to a price war in the hypercompetitive pickup segment.
A price war could be damaging for Ford's and Chrysler's profitability, and could hurt GM as "its 2007 turnaround depends greatly on increased contribution margins from its new pickups," Johnson said.
GM, Ford and Chrysler are all losing money, cutting jobs and reducing production. All three are in the midst of executing a restructuring plan to return their North American operations to profit.
Also, potential bidders have begun to size up Chrysler for a potential acquisition after Daimler said in February it was leaving all options open for the unit.
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*snip*
Wow, why parade your pain? To beat us to it?
Besides, we should have expected this, with gas prices steadily rising, no matter what brand of truck.
Natalie
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Facts are facts.
Not my pain. Just because I think Toyotas are over hyped, over rated, and WAY over priced doesn't mean I suffer because Toyota is are doing well. I don't own stock in any domestic automaker and I am close enough to retirement that it is not going to matter much to me that all the jobs have moved off shore. What goes around comes around. I don't think Toyota can fool all of the people all of the time.

Absolutely. To a certain extent, the domestic manufacturers are victims of their own success. Trucks and SUVs were so profitable that they neglected car lines. However, as I have pointed out more than once Toyota has been following the exact same strategy. The only thing that is saving them is the ready availability of models designed for other markets that they can ship to the US. The most fuel efficient Toyota models are all imports. Some Corollas are assembled in North America, but that is a tired old design.
Ed
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"C. E. White"...

Well, I guess I'm a fool, and I doubt I'll ever "wise up" since their cars have always been great. :-P Clearly it bothers you that the D3 are in trouble, or you wouldn't tout them so much on the Toyota NG. That's your right, of course, but I still resent that you think we're foolish to be happy with our cars. You are not living our lives, and cannot know what it's like to own our cars. It's insulting, and oh yeah, condescending. I don't have a problem with your obvious bias against Toyotas, but please stop talking down to us, as though we are idiots.

models (the ubiquitous Camry -*yawn*)
But looks are only a *small* factor for me, when it comes to cars.
Which may explain why I love my 2000 Echo.
:-)
Natalie
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It bothers me that so many American have decided that no domestic vehicles are worthy of consideration. I know people who won't even consider a domestic vehicle.There are 30 year old Americans who have never even driven a domestic vehicle, yet they are willing to tout the superiority of foreign vehicles. It bothers me when I see my fellow Americans loosing their jobs. It bothers me when Ford starts building cars in Mexico so they can compete on price. Maybe you don't know anyone who lost their automotive job, but I do. It bothers me that Toyota was allowed to build its business in a protected market while our government made rules that in the long run made the US domestic industry less competitive.

I never called you a fool or an idiot. I don't think I am superior to you (although I am sure we each know more about some things than the other does). I do have my opinions and I don't mind sharing them. Naturally I think they are well founded, but I have made a few mistakes in the past, and may well make more mistakes in the future. If you find my expressions of my opinions condescending, maybe you need to figure out why someone who doesn't agree with your opinions bothers you so much. I certainly don't lose any sleep when someone says bad things about my Nissan Frontier. I may try to explain why I don't agree, but I won't accuse them of trying to insult me. I do dislike it when some people turn things into personal attacks, but I try not to do that and I don't think I have ever made any personal attacks against you. When someone makes what I believe is an incorrect statement, then I will try to correct them. If someone expresses an opinion I don't agree with, then I don't mind expressing my divergent opinion. This is not being condescending. Disagreeing with a person is not the same as calling them an idiot or talking down to them. If you don't agree with someone and you keep you mouth shut, chances are they will take that as tacit agreement (even if it isn't). Mike Hunter might justifiably call me condescending, but I don't think you should.
Here are some of my opinions on Toyota:
1) I believe Toyota has ands is still engaging in deceptive marketing practices. The current Tundra ads are some of the most deceptive ads I've ever seen. The inflated horsepower numbers form a couple of years ago is another example. Yet another is the deceptive loan practices of Toyota's financing arm.
2) I believe Toyota has "dumped" products on the US market in an attempt to drive competitors out of business. They can write off development costs against vehicles sold in the relatively protected Japanese market and then sell low end vehicles in the US at less than US manufacturers can develop and manufacture competitive vehicles.
3) I don't believe Toyota vehicles in general are significantly worse than other major manufacturer's products, but I don't think they are significantly better either. I can't prove this, but I don't think you can prove the opposite. A collection of apocryphal stories is not data.
4) I have owned a Toyota. I know people who currently own Toyotas. I regularly drive my SO's Toyota. I might even buy a Toyota some day. And ironically I tried to talk my Sister into at least trying a Toyota when she was car shopping (anything is better than a VW in my mind).
5) I believe the press gives Toyota a relatively free ride on recalls, while publicizing any recall by a domestic manufacturer as if it was the end of the world.
6) If you took any article on the Toyota Sludge problems and replaced "Toyota" with "Chevrolet" many Toyota apologists would immediately believe the article was accurate and than the sludge was totally GMs fault.
7) Toyota tries to cover-up evidence of problems. For a prime example read the documents on the NHTSA web site with regards to Tundra/Tacoma ball joint failures. Toyota restricts access to their service bulletins. Unlike the domestic manufacturers you can't go to Alldata and get a current list of Toyota TSBs. Unless you are willing to pay for access, there is no easy way to see if there is a TSB describing a problem with a Toyota. You can go to the NHTSA web site and search for TSB that describe "safety" problems, but unlike domestic manufacturers, Toyota tends to feel that only a very few TSBs decribe safety problems, so only a relatively few TSBs are listed there.
8) Toyotas are over-priced compared to similar vehicles from other manufacturers (foreign and domestic)
9) Toyota charges to much for replacement parts.
10) Toyota dealers tend to be less responsive than most other brands. I fell this is a result of Toyota recent marketing gains - too few dealers for the volume of cars being sold. Within 30 miles of where I set, there are 7 Ford dealers, 7 Chevrolet dealers and 3 Toyota dealers. When I was trying to buy a pick-up truck I found the local Toyota dealer to be impossible to deal with. They sometimes quoted low prices, but then under valued a trade in and tried to tack on ridiculous extra fees.

If it suits you, then what does it matter what I think. I liked Pintos (I owned 2). I often defend Pintos, particualrly when people who have never owned or driven a Pinto start using them as an example of a bad car. I don't lose a lot of sleep becasue some people contuinue to think Pintos were bad cars. You shouldn't lose any sleep becasue I don't think Echos are the apex of automotive developement. If there was only one "right" car, then things would be very boring.
Ed
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Great post. And I whole heartedly agree with you. I've worked on both foreign and domestic, as you are well aware. What you described about toys deceptive practices is completely true. I've seen it with my own eyes and was told to do it that way. I have also said the jap scrap was no better and I still believe that. I also believe that the domestics are just as good or better, but toy owners refuse to believe that also. I currently own a 500 hp 91 gt fox body stang that I built, and is in off the production line condition, and has never given me a mechanical problem aside from the fact that it is finicky, and you would know why. I also have a 96 contour V6 which is my wife's car and has over 100k on the clock with just a water pump replacement. That due to the stator vanes being plastic, which broke and burnt out the impeller bearings. My other car is a 01 Sonata, which has been good, except for the paint peeling off the door handles due to poor workmanship, no primer on the plastic, and which they refused to deal with because it was 2 months over the 3 year paint warranty which was a piss poor excuse for excusing the quality of the paint job. I've owned a Camry which was also decent, but around 50k's the cam lobs were worn, which was also unacceptable and toy would not cover it. I was a mech at a toy dealership at the time. That soured me on toys. All in all, they all make decent vehicles.

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It's condescending to say we're being "fooled" for one And I, and others on the Toyota NG have said multiple times that we think domestic car makers do a good job with *certain types* of vehicles; large ones, for instance, but you keep saying we're refusing to see that we should have bought domestic instead. What I resent is someone who obviously has a bias against a product/subject, yet continues to troll those he knows do not agree with him. In that way, you're no different from Mike. Having said that, you only make yourself look like the boy who cried wolf most of the time. I guess it bothers me that you're so bitter about an effing car, for crying out loud.
The one Subaru I ever owned was a total POS, yet I'd consider another in a heartbeat - why? Because I trust that "anecdotal evidence" you are so fond of dismissing.
And as for keeping my mouth shut, you should consider the same when someone disputes your claims. If you can counterpoint, why can't those of us who are happy with our vehicles do the same? Sounds like a double standard to me.
Your disagreeing with me is not the issue - plenty of others do on *many* subjects, so I have a fairly thick skin in that regard. It's your refusal to acknowledge that our opinions may be valid too.

Like GM/Ford haven't? Puh-leeze. You have to take any marketing with a grain of salt, and seek your data elsewhere, including personal experiences of yourself and others.

Probably true, but so far their "trash" is way better than what I've tried to get domestically - I'm talking small cars only, since that's all I've ever bought.

I trust that data to a point - hasn't failed me yet. When it does, I'll let you know. Seriously.

And I've owned some really shitty other domestic cars, as have my friends/family. Late model (late 80s to present) have been nothing but headaches for them. Again, I'm talking *small* cars. Those with trucks, minivans, etc, are perfectly happy with them, which is why I would consider *domestic first* with large vehicles.

Bullshit - how many Toyota recalls involved serious/deadly defects? Way less than the D3. Personally, I don't know of any exploding Toyotas, but maybe there were.

That's probably true - I think the press is too hard on D3. We can agree there. It seems the recent failures were not just because of the vehicles, but the gross mismanagement.

Yeah, and how many have died from that? Not that I don't believe what you're saying, but what have been the results? Again, I would probably not buy a Toyota truck anyway.

No doubt. But I'd rather pay more to take it home than to keep it.

Absolutely, but see #8 response.

Yeah, one bad dealer, and you condemn all Toyota dealers? Ridiculous. A bad dealer does not a bad car make.

I'll accept that if you will.
Natalie
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What exploding car myth are you talking about. It was dismissed cause a show deliberately caused the explosion after many numerous attempts to make it so through an actual car impact failed to make the gas tank explode. Any vehicle can have their tank explode if you set charges to it.

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*snip*
http://www.crownvictoriasafetyalert.com /
I remember reading about and seeing this on the news this a long time ago - in real newspapers, with real cops and their survivors describing the tragedies.
Natalie
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Well, I guess the toyota siennas that caught fire after being impacted in our city don't count. Although there was a recall on those, but it didn't help the people that died in those crashes though.

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Wickeddoll® wrote:

There's one big difference...
A civilian *WILL NOT* put his vehicule out as a shield to protect the other car as policemen do...
Furthermore, all the extra equipment that gets bolted in the trunk adds to more things that could puncture the gas tank (bolts)...
As 2 Civics totalled themselves rearending my Grand Marquis (same car as Crown Vics), without causing any kind of damage other than nasty scratches and popping out the plastic bumper cover from its fasteners, I don't see *why* any civilian would need a shield...
Anything hitting a Panther hard enough to have it catch fire will totally blow anything else to bits, so I don't really see the point...
(it has to get past the steel frame, so it would take a truck, SUV or another Panther :)
--
Don't drink water, fish have sex in it!

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"El Bandito" ...

You're saying it's the cops' fault?!
If so, why don't more of other police vehicles, like the Impalas they tend to use now, catch fire?
Natalie
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You are kidding, right? When Ford duplicated the crash that caused the Interceptor to 'catch fire' the speed of the vehicle that hit it was moving at 70 MPH. When they crashed the same model car into the two other certified police cars, the Chevy and Dodge, it ran completely over the both of them.. The fact is the Interceptor is built to take a 50 MPH rear hit, without effecting the fuel tank. The other two will only take a 30 MPH, which is the NHTSA minimum standard for all cars
mike.

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Mike Hunter wrote:

Kinda like surviving two rear ends from Civics...
Those scratches are bigger then I thought. I'll have to rebolt the bumper and fix those scratches...
As I said, anything that can cause a Panther to catch fire is gonna be either a truck, or another Panther :)
(A Volvo Might do it if it hits it hard enough)

--
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Wickeddoll® wrote:

Front-wheel drive cars? (Impalas)
Any studies to back that up?
I would gladly rear-end an Impala with my Panther and see which one catches fire...
My CD Changer might skip.
--
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"El Bandito" ...

#1. You're evil...
#2. I'm asking *you* if this ever happened to Impalas? My point is to ask why this particular disaster apparently only happened (to my knowledge) with Crown Vics, and many moons ago, the Pinto.
Natalie
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Wickeddoll® wrote:

Thank you, I try my best :)

Since Crown Vics have been a Police favorite for years, almost exclusively, It might be why...
At least, they don't drop transmissions on the road like Chryslers. Or suddendly catch fire like some Mercedes, and so on... Every car model has its own quirks (In my Contour, the quirk was the whole car...)
Let me rephrase that. The Radio worked fine :)
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*shudder* :-)

LOL
Natalie
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message

The Crown Victoria is a rear wheel drive vehicle with a solid rear axle. There are only limited number of places where the fuel tank can be located. In a CV it is above and slightly behind the rear axle. In order to damage the tank you literally have to bend the whole rear of the car forward and down. NHTSA studied the CV gas tank and concluded that it was no more likely to catch fire than the tank in a Chevrolet Caprice, the other commonly used vehicle with a solid rear axle. Because of the nature of police operations there are a couple of factor that come in to play that make it more likely that the tank will be damaged and that a fire might result -
1) Police offers often pull off on the shoulders of the road. Sitting on the shoulder make them especially vulnerable to being hit in the rear by vehicles moving at high speed. Being struck in the rear by an SUV and HD truck doing 60+ can crush the rear of the car to the point that the gas tank is damaged. I believe you live in NC, so the next time you see a HP Car with someone stopped notice how they now angle the rear of the car away from the road. Although you can find cases where severe collisions resulted in a CV catching on fire, there are plenty of other cases where the rear of the car has been literally pushed into the back seat, and yet the officer survived. Although an Impala in a similar crash might not catch fire, it is likely that the officer might be killed by the force of the collision.
2) Officers often fill the trunks of cars with heavy items and guns and ammunition. In some cases these items have been shoved through the wall of the trunk and then through the gas tank as well (their is a wall between the trunk and gas tank). To reduce the chances of this happening, Ford has offered to retrofit patrol cars with an additional liner. If for no other reason, this is less likely to be a problem in an Impala because the trunk is much smaller and therefore can't hold as many heavy objects.
The Chevy Impala is a front wheel drive car. Because there is no drive shaft, the fuel tank can be mounted underneath the rear seat. At least in the case of rear end collisions, this is a safer location. Also since the rear suspension is much lighter and smaller, it is less likely to rupture the fuel tank which is located further forward than the tank in a CV. Their is no doubt that the Impala has a better fuel tank location. The new Dodge Chargers also have a better location. They have independent rear suspension. Since they no longer have to allow for the movement of the drive shaft and the rear differential, there are more options for gas tank placement.
The CV is an old design. As a civilian vehicle it has a very good safety record. For instance, a Toyota Avalon has an injury loss rating of 79, while a Crown Victoria has an injury loss rating of 71 (lower is better). A Camry has an injury loss rating of 110 (worse than average - 100 is average). A Toyota Echo has an injury loss rating of 189.
The Crown Victoria has stayed in production for so long because it offers a combination that is hard to beat for police work. The following article summarizes it better than I could: http://hamptonroads.com/stories/crown_vics.html
Ed
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Der MoPar thought the RWD Dodge would hurt Ford RWD Interceptor as a pursuit vehicle.. The fact is the RWD Dodge is not selling as well as did the FWD Dodge police cars. The reason not enough room in the trunk or the rear seat. Many bought the FWD Dodge knowing it was not a very good pursuit vehicle but with the intention of using them on city patrols where the FWD would have an advantage in winter. Although the Dodge sold for around 2K less the FWD setup resulted in much higher maintenance costs that used up any savings on the purchase price.
mike

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